Heritage Foundation releases education freedom report card, with Florida ranking highest

By | September 9, 2022

The Heritage Foundation launched an Education Freedom Report Card Friday, listing Florida as the top state for education freedom, with New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C. coming at the bottom of the list. 

The Heritage Foundation’s report took into account four broad categories when ranking education freedom: education choice, regulatory freedom, academic transparency and education spending return on investment. 

The bottom of the list – New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., “did little to provide transparency, accountability, and choice to families,” according to the Heritage Foundation website. 

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“If sunlight is the best disinfectant, it’s no wonder why the Sunshine State is one of the freest states for teachers and children to pursue an education that is largely devoid of red tape,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told Fox News Digital. “Florida has led the way in expanding education choice, cutting red tape, and holding schools accountable to parents with academic transparency.”

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The report card also linked to “model legislation” on issues like academic transparency, discrimination and education savings accounts. 

“Our goal is that this annual ranking of states will not only inform parents and policymakers of what their states do well and where they need improvement, but that it will spur necessary and lasting reform,” read the report card website. 

Lindsey Burke, Director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy also praised Florida’s education system, saying the state’s lawmakers “set a high standard for academic transparency and rejecting critical race theory’s pernicious ideas.”

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“An impressive 42% of Florida teachers are alternatively certified, making their way to K–12 classrooms through means other than a traditional, university-based college education,” Burke added.

“Education freedom is one of the most important issues of our generation. States like Florida exemplify how school choice policies, regulatory freedom, and academic transparency benefit students and restore parental rights,” Executive Director of Heritage Action for America Jessica Anderson said. “By putting the needs of students ahead of the interests of failing school systems, Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have delivered on their promises to Florida’s families and done their part to set the next generation up for success.”

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The Heritage Foundation’s education report card came just days after the U.S. Department of Education announced significant declines in both reading and math scores among students across the nation. 

Data released by the National Center for Education Statistics showed the largest score drop in reading among 9-year-old students since 1990, and the first-ever score drop in mathematics among the same age group.